Lesson 1: Husbandry and its Role in Early Training


This module will cover husbandry basics from and how it impacts our training sessions

When first introducing your ambassador owl to their enclosure be sure to keep perches to a minimum, depending on the space you may only need two our three perches to start.
It should be taken in to account the weather in your area when setting up your mews/enclosures.

Often times bird will choose the highest perch in their enclosure as their "favorite". When planning to perch an enclosure for a bird, this is good to keep in mind. The highest perch ideally should be towards the back and under some sort of shelter or roof.

Some of our mews and aviaries will have an open spot for sunning and weathering. We always make sure that the highest perch is not under these areas so that the birds won't sit and bake or freeze.

There is a lot of open discussion about tethering vs free lofting. The purpose of this class is not to delve deep in to this issue. We do think it is important to train a BOP to be safely tethered in a yard and as mentioned there are safety and welfare issues to consider that tethering can provide.

Here at ABI we only use a specific kind of plastic matting or coco mat as perch covering for our BOPs.

Substrate inside of your birds enclosure is important to consider, since there are several options. We have dirt or pea gravel as substrate in our aviaries and mews to decrease the likelihood of aspergillosis exposure to our birds. Some substrate such as rubber or sand actually sharpens birds' talons, however pea gravel does not. Any substrate that holds water like mulch should definitely be avoided for bird enclosures.
it is important to consider where you are located when setting up your mews and adding substrate.

Open aviaries can be great if you have less sensitive, more social birds like vultures and our owl Guinness who does well with more exposure to his environment.
There are size requirements for different bird of prey species, be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements before placing your new owl in an enclosure.
It isn’t enough to just set up an excellent enclosure for your bird, we also need to be sure they are cleaned daily with fresh water and monitor their perches in case they need to be replaced.

We clean our birds' aviaries daily but we have our more sensitive birds in mews on a twice weekly cleaning schedule. This schedule can of course be interrupted for reasons like dirty water, a broken perch or enrichment that needs to be removed. We do offer enrichment to our birds of prey but we are very cautious especially with paper items like cardboard or newspaper, if paper items are wet they need to be removed from birds' enclosures as soon as possible. Objects that hold moisture like paper, straw, leaves and wood can expose your bird to aspergillosis.